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Dublin: 3 °C Sunday 25 February, 2018

Brewing up a storm? War of words between UK and Irish forecasters over naming of 'Fionn'

A storm? Channel 4′s weatherman reckoned it was tantamount to “naming raindrops”.

Image: Sam Boal

MET ÉIREANN’S EVELYN Cusack has responded to criticism of the Irish weather service from a UK broadcaster who insisted Storm Fionn should never have been given a name.

Liam Dutton of Channel 4 News, a UK Met Office trained meteorologist, took to Twitter on Tuesday to take the Irish service to task over its decision christen the storm.

#StormFionn that has been named by @MetEireann shouldn’t have been named,” Dutton contended, claiming it didn’t meet the required criteria.

It needs no more than a standard weather warning. It’s not even a low pressure with a storm centre, just a squeeze in the isobars. What next? Naming raindrops? It’s ridiculous!

The UK Met Office had earlier tweeted that the storm had been named by Met Éireann, adding:

… impacts are currently expected to be below warning limits in the UK.

Joint project 

The Irish and UK weather services announced the joint storm-naming project in 2014 following a winter that saw a number of unofficially named storms – like ‘Darwin’ – make headlines.

“I can see his point in the sense that is wasn’t a traditional swirling vortex storm,” Cusack told Newstalk Breakfast today.

red 96_90526682 Evelyn: "We treasure all of our citizens equally" Source: Sam Boal

The forecaster added:

“We treasure all our citizens equally and we issued those warnings because of very high seas and very dangerous conditions in the south-west and west of ireland.

Recently there’s been some tragic deaths involving people swept off rocks and cliffs in very poor conditions.

Cusack observed:

I’m sure he didn’t imply any deep criticism of the Met Éireann meteorologists.

Dutton was back on Twitter today, sticking to his guns:

l1 Source: Liam Dutton/Twitter

Stirring things up a little, the UK Met Office then chimed in with the following:


BBC’s Jen Bartram also had a view:


Prompting the following from Dutton, back at Channel 4:


There is, it’s worth pointing out, a European forecasting group that coordinates this sort of thing – it’s called the WGCEF Task Team on Storm Naming and you can find out more about it here. Evelyn Cusack is the current chair of the organisation.

Further reading: How did poor old Charles Darwin get dragged into the nation’s storm coverage? >

From this morning: Trees and roof blown away as snow-ice warning issued for 4 northern counties >

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